Christopher Grey is CFO and co-founder of CapLinked, an online platform for connecting entrepreneurs and investors. He was a senior executive and managing partner in private equity, finance and banking for 15 years and directly involved in the origination and management of billions of dollars of debt and equity investments in various industries. He founded Crestridge Investments and Third Wave Partners, and was managing director of Emigrant Bank, the nation'sMore ↓Less ↑
Although I consider myself a capitalist, I’ve never been a huge advocate of Ayn Rand style philosophy. It’s overly simplified and somewhat cartoon-like in its view of the world.
Things are bit more complex than heroes and villains, even if I tend to agree that the capitalists are doing a lot more good than bureaucrats and politicians. However, this recent review of the new movie about Atlas Shrugged in Barrons helped me remember one thing that is probably more important than anything else in this debate we’re having now about the government budget and spending.
It’s the people who pay taxes who are the ones who are being exploited and not the people spending the taxes.
This statement is not at all intended to mean that the poor are somehow exploiting the rich. Quite the opposite. If you look carefully at the federal budget, what you will really see is that it’s the rich who often are the beneficiaries of government spending.
Whether it is farm subsidies, corporate welfare, bank bailouts, tax loopholes, regulatory favoritism, or bloated public sector unions, more often than not the rich are taking from the government more than they’re actually paying.
Big corporations, hedge funds, and the like pay fortunes to lobbyists to get favorable treatment by the government.
Who pays the taxes? The middle class and entrepreneurs who create the value that is ultimately used by other people with political connections to enrich themselves and by the government to help their friends and special interests.
The silent group in this debate about the budget are the people who are actually paying for it. It’s time the entrepreneurs and middle class taxpayers speak more loudly and let their voices be heard and not ignored.
The original idea behind the United States hundreds of years ago was simple. There should be no taxation without representation. We need to get back to that concept and not allow the big corporations, lobbyists, and special interests to continue stealing the hard-earned money of the most productive people in our society.
America is no longer the only place in the world that is safe and hospitable for entrepreneurs. If we don’t start showing more respect to the entrepreneurs who create the value that pays the taxes, they might just take a page from the story of Atlas Shrugged.
They might just decide to leave and not come back.
What does a country look like without any entrepreneurs? It looks like Cuba, North Korea or Zimbabwe. That’s not exactly a bright future for anyone. Something to consider as politicians argue about how “fair” or “unfair” it is to cut spending.